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Vietnam Pro Wrestling


simonworden

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Most of you are probably unware that I live in Vietnam. Oh you knew already? I don't recall mentioning it before. Jokes out the way, for anyone interested here's a quick write up on my first visit to the local wrestling company Vietnam Pro Wrestling https://www.youtube.com/@VietnamProWrestling4Life .

To give a quick background, they've been going for quite a few years starting off as just doing dojo type shows on a Gatomove type mat, since then they've managed to have a ring constructed and made leaps and bounds in their product. When I first heard about them I will admit I was put off by the size of the wrestlers, their lack of costumes, gimmicks and some of their in ring work looking pretty dangerous. That was back in probably 2017-18 and after that I kind of switched off until more recently when some of my colleagues have attended their recent shows and given them glowing reviews which I completely agree with now.  I won't go into much more background information on them as the recent Jericho podcast with the owner and ring announcer does a far better job than I could. My match recaps will also be fairly short as I don't have a great knack for it. 

Show Report

The show titled "The Rumble" was held this last Saturday in VAIB Studios, Ho Chi Minh City. This was probably the closest a wrestling show has ever been held to my home in my life and it was nice to be in bed around 20 minutes after the last bell rang.  You can see the venue in their videos, it's a warehouse type room that's used for filming and events. Ring was set up in the middle with a video screen at the entrance. Overall they've got a decent set up with screen/ lighting for an Indy promotion especially considering they don't have any predecessors in Vietnam.  At a 300 capacity venue there really isn't a bad seat in the house. More importantly the promotion brings in a load of different food/drink vendors for the show including a local brewery, hot dogs, burgers and pizza by the slice.

The show started on time with the ring announcer Xavier Patrick welcoming us to the show in a very enthusiastic way reminiscent of how Progress shows (used to?) start. With an audience full of casuals and even never seen wrestling before's it helped to drive up enthusiasm more than your traditional introductions.

Match 1 - Sid Nguyen vs Mitch Ryder

Ryder was a visiting Australian wrestler while Sid is one of the two friends who started VPW. This was an excellent opener with both starting off as faces and Ryder slowly showing the classic heel mannerisms building more heat in the match until being pinned after around 15 mins by Sid. The match had a good mix of mat wrestling, high flying, brawling and entertainment based spots and started the show off well. I think having a more seasoned wrestler from abroad in the first match helped get things off to a good start but Sid Nguyen held his own and looked like a pro as well.

Match 2 - Venom Shank vs Hydraco and Phong Tran

This was the first storyline based match on the show with Hydraco having some previous beef with Venom Shank and introducing Phong Tran as his mystery partner for the match. Venom Shank are a set of two twins who are short, stocky and have matching outfits and hairstyles. They have a real evil - minion vibe about them (not the yellow Pixar things) and I'd love to see them paired up with a manager or a singles star to make a mid-card faction. Hydraco wears basketball attire and seems to be more of a flyer/ fast striker in terms of move set while his partner Phong Tran has a kind of K-Pop star gimmick and I would love to see the latter make the transition over to prima donna heel in due course. I would hazzard a guess these guys were the least experienced roster members and at times this showed in the psychology of the match but then this wasn't a bad match at all. I've seen far worse from more experienced guys over the years it was perhaps just that compared to the two more experienced workers in match 1 the psychology was not quite there. After mixing it up for around 10-12 minutes the match ended in a draw with one of the twins going to a clever double pin with Hydrco, followed by him getting a good amount of green mist in the face. 

Match 3 - VPW Openweight Championship - Damien Wolfe (C) vs Ares

This was the best singles bout of the night. Wolf is a big chunky guy who comes to the ring in a trench coat and looks mean but not as mean as the challenger Ares, my now favorite VPW wrestler who is a wonderful meaty man whose clearly spent a good amount of time in the gym. A slow burner that got the crowd going about a third of the way through, it reminded me of my Orpington days where Martin Stone would have big meaty man fights with people like Leroy Kincade and Batallion. After a few false finishes Ares got the win to become the new champ much to the delight of the fans.  

Main Event - The Rumble (20 man) 

The winner of the rumble received the "sure shot" contract - think Money in the Bank.

I was pretty merry by the time we got here so I'll just write highlight notes on what was an entertaining rumble match using standard timed entry rules.

  • Guys from the first 2 matches were part of the early goings on and continued their conflict from earlier with the twins doing a bit of twin magic during the rumble.¬†
  • Xavier Patrick the ring announcer entered the match himself which got a big pop and he danced and played a fishing game with a big chunky tag team known as "The Classic Night"
  • Immediately after this a locally famous comedian called Phuong Nam entered which got a huge pop from the Vietnamese in attendance¬†
  • End of the match was built around their veteran trainer¬†Fugo Fugo Yumeji taking it to some of his early days trainees
  • Rocky Huynh won the Rumble¬†

Post Show thoughts

I really enjoyed this show, going in I didn't expect that much but it was up there with any indy shows I've seen in the UK in the last 15-20 years in terms of entertainment value. A lot of the roster are really young and don't have the same opportunities to travel around wrestling different places and people regularly but I reckon a lot if not most of them could hold their own in the UK or USA. Production quality was brilliant and the best thing (apart from the food/ beer) in this area was the kept things on time and I was off home by 10:15PM. 

It's not really my place to say but if I was to give my thoughts on what they need to do next I'd say push the gimmicks in a bit further, lean into the Vietnamese culture a bit more and most importantly they need a raffle. They already do a good job of catering to pretty much everyone there from long term fans like me, children and even making it interesting for curious locals who have no idea what wrestling is.

I know this is probably not of massive interest to most people here but in the past we've had threads on more obscure wrestling and events so thought it would be worth a write up for my first time. I don't think I'll make a habit of clogging up the threads here.

TLDR - Vietnam has wrestling now and it's good. 

 

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I got very confused when I saw the name Mitch Ryder on there, as I was thinking "oh wow, I remember him from CHIKARA back in the day", only to remember that he's dead and this is a different bloke.

Thanks for posting this, I love grassroots wrestling in parts of the world with little or no tradition of pro-wrestling, it's always interesting seeing or reading about how they approach it, and what local flavour it's given. 

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8 minutes ago, BomberPat said:

I got very confused when I saw the name Mitch Ryder on there, as I was thinking "oh wow, I remember him from CHIKARA back in the day", only to remember that he's dead and this is a different bloke.

Thanks for posting this, I love grassroots wrestling in parts of the world with little or no tradition of pro-wrestling, it's always interesting seeing or reading about how they approach it, and what local flavour it's given. 

No worries, happy to share. I might add a few more highlights from shows if they have a more local flavour. I also found the late Mitch Ryder at first when looking for a bio. This guy was a solid worker but not done much outside the Aussie scene yet but has potential. 

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How did such a promotion get on a Jericho podcast? Has he been doing this with other obscure destinations (I haven't listened in a long time)?

I don't know about in Ho Chi Minh City but up in the capital of Hanoi wrestling is non-existent. Well, not that I've been looking. There's definitely been more buzz over the last couple of years about MMA and setting up smaller events in various locations, but I've seen zero wrestling, so this was fascinating to read, thanks!

If anything was organised in Hanoi, I would absolutely want to learn how to be a referee or manager¬†ūüėā

Edited by Mr.Showtime
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There has been a real uptick of indie wrestling in Southeast Asia in recent years - Emi Sakura's Gatoh Move (which has now more or less completely merged into ChocoPro, their pandemic-era brand) actually started out in Thailand while Emi was living there, and effectively built a small indie scene from the ground up. Pumi, who co-started it, has since run SETUP Pro in Thailand, and Tajiri's been doing a lot of work to help them out lately, as he's another wrestler who loves helping out smaller scenes; Joe E. Legend did similar for promotions in the Philippines. 

WrestleMap is a great resource for this stuff, if you're ever curious about wrestling in parts of the world you'd never previously considered - WrestleMap 

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My brother lives in Ho Chi Minh City and has been to a couple of events they've put on and really enjoyed them. Funnily enough, he always utterly rinsed me when I was a kid for enjoying wrestling, so quite funny that he's ended up having fun at these shows. I think having something to do out there that's a bit different is a factor. 

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2 hours ago, Chest Rockwell said:

This is the same promotion that was on the Jericho podcast right? That was an interesting listen.. 

Yeah, I finally got around to it todaym best part was the announcer talked enough Jericho barely got a word in. Always a plus. 

2 hours ago, Mr.Showtime said:

How did such a promotion get on a Jericho podcast? Has he been doing this with other obscure destinations (I haven't listened in a long time)?

I don't know about in Ho Chi Minh City but up in the capital of Hanoi wrestling is non-existent. Well, not that I've been looking. There's definitely been more buzz over the last couple of years about MMA and setting up smaller events in various locations, but I've seen zero wrestling, so this was fascinating to read, thanks!

If anything was organised in Hanoi, I would absolutely want to learn how to be a referee or manager¬†ūüėā

Not 100 percent sure, they've been pretty hot on their promotion online and did get into PWI not long ago. No idea how they ended up on Jericho's podcast apart from he picked up on the story and it intrigued him so he got in touch. The podcast did give a good bit of Insight into the challenges of getting to big or known and having the government try to put a stop to it for lack of understanding which happens often. Black Pink had to pay copyright fees to play their own songs the other week!

1 hour ago, gmoney said:

My brother lives in Ho Chi Minh City and has been to a couple of events they've put on and really enjoyed them. Funnily enough, he always utterly rinsed me when I was a kid for enjoying wrestling, so quite funny that he's ended up having fun at these shows. I think having something to do out there that's a bit different is a factor. 

Starting to feel there's a lot of gimmick infringement in this forum now! That's what one of the draws for a lot of people is I think. It's a decent night out with the bar and food. If you're ever visiting let me know although this venue will need a serious toilet upgrade before a ukff meetup could safely happen. 

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